Cheke Emmanuel reports that the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Nasarawa State for the forthcoming elections is burdened by the yoke of reconciliation of party stakeholders ahead of the polls
The task for the candidate of All Progressive Congress (APC) in Nasarawa State, Alhaji Abdullahi Sule to win the governorship in the 2019 general elections is a Herculean one, but not impossible given his integrity and track record of service within and outside the state. Sule, a former Managing Director of Dangote Sugar Company, polled 926 votes to defeat his close rival, Aliyu Ahmed Wadada, a former member representing Karu/Keffi/ Kokona federal constituency at the National Assembly, who polled a total of 517 votes, while the deputy governor of the state, Silas Agara, emerged third with 356 votes. Eleven aspirants contested for the ticket.
They include Halilu Envuluanza, a former Executive Secretary of the National Judicial Council, who polled 246 votes; Ja’faru Ibrahim, member representing Nasarawa/Toto federal constituency, who garnered 105 votes; Zakari Idde and former APC National Vice Chairman, scored 88 votes. Dauda Kigbu, Shehu Tukur, Mohammed Maikaya, James Angbazo and Hassan Liman, polled 10, nine, eight, seven and four votes, respectively. A total of 2,341 delegates were expected to participate in the primary election, out of which 2,337 were accredited and they voted. Nineteen votes were invalidated for either double thumb printing or thumb printing on margin between boxes of two aspirants.
Though Governor Tanko Al-Makura commended the peaceful, transparent and fair conduct of the election, describing it as the hallmark of the party’s Change Mantra, the APC governorship candidate’s first challenge is to reconcile the other 10 governorship aspirants as well as reach out to some political gladiators and other stakeholders within and outside the state, especially Senator Abdullahi Adamu (a former governor of the state), who is said not to be comfortable with his choice in order to triumph in the 2019 general elections. While Sule has much work to do in convincing the likes of Adamu to buy into his project, his unlikely to encounter difficulty in convincing those contested against him for the ticket to support his candidature.
The reason is that the 10 aspirants, who lost the primary, have pledged to rally round Sule to ensure victory for the party in 2019, the party and its candidate should not take for granted going into the election. Barr. Hassan Liman, spokesman for the aspirants had told newsmen after the primary that they were committed to the success of the party in 2019, as they were impressed with the conduct of the exercise, which according to him was free, fair and transparent. “All of us are standing here today because we are impressed with how the primary was conducted from start to finish. It was transparent, peaceful, fair and devoid of any cheating. We are satisfied with the process.
That is why we are standing here to commend the process that brought out our party’s flag bearer. We wish to categorically state that we accept the result of the primary because it was organised fairly. “We want to assure you that we will work together to ensure that our party comes out victorious in the general elections in 2019 so that our party can continue to offer our people sustainable dividends of democracy,” he said.
But, politics being an unpredictable game, the party’s leadership in the state Some members of the party also believe that it is time for the governorship flag bearer to drop his mean posture and embrace the people of the state irrespective of the diverse backgrounds if he is to win their support ahead of the 2019 general elections. According to some APC members, who spoke on Sule’s emergence, said the candidate should know that becoming a governor in not a picnic, so he should be able to embrace all and sundry and be open to all segments of people irrespective of their tribal, religious, socio-political or cultural affiliation as he is coming to govern them if elected in the forthcoming polls. Analysts, on their part, argued that although Sule may not be the most popular choice of the people of the state even among the APC family, his emergence as the flag bearer of the party is because of the backing he got from Governor Al-makura, who insisted that power must shift to Nasarawa North senatorial district, which had not had the opportunity of producing governor since the creation of the state in 1996.
They opined that though Al-makura may have been criticized by some people in the state because of his choice, his wisdom which is perhaps hinged on the fact that if justice and fairness is something worthwhile and in the spirit of principle of power rotation, power must shift to Akwanga zone since the west and southern senatorial zones have had their fare share and so the choice Sule fits in. Against this backdrop, they suggested that a genuine approach be adopted by the leadership of the APC to passionately reach out to the people of Nasarawa to win the hearts of citizens of the state irrespective of their socio-political standing to key into the continuity agenda of the Al-makura administration. According to them, for the APC in the state and its flag bearer to come out successful in the 2019 general elections, they must work hard and do the needful given that other strong opposition parties such as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) are not resting on their oars to wrest power from the ruling party in the state.